Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End of the Year

I've just realised that it's the last day of the year. See, that's what bookselling at Christmas does to you. Lol.

I somehow had it in my head that the beginning of next year was still about a week away, instead of just tomorrow. Did someone mess with the days again?

I hope you all had a grand Christmas and got lots of lovely pressies, or time with your family, or both, whatever you wished for.

I got a fantastic new digital camera for Christmas. Of course I already have a camera but it's a digital SLR and it's quite large and not very easy to stick in your pocket, so I asked for, and luckily got, a small, pocket-sized camera that I can carry around with me and so will use more often.

In order to get myself into the habit of taking pictures and also to make me look at my world a bit more I have set myself a challenge for the first half of this year. Each week I will do a blog post on a subject beginning with a different letter, starting with A and working through to Z. It might be a simple photo post or it might be a subject I want to witter on about, and hopefully it will be a bit of both.

Come back later this week for the annoucement of my annual Blog Awards, a quick recap of the past year and a preview of 2010.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Just a quick post to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, now that the last book has been sold, the final giftcard swiped and the last sale sticker affixed.

(Miniature Mittens from Latvian Mittens by Lisbeth Upitis)

I hope you all have a peaceful holiday. I shall be sitting knitting socks while Pete and the Evilpixie take care of the refreshments and vittels. Dr Who is on the TV later and I don't have to work until Tuesday.

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Grand Day Out

I had a lovely day out yesterday at the Advent Gathering, hosted by the Staffordshire Moorlands Guild of Spinners and Weavers.

I went with my spinning group (we hired a minibus so we could all go together) and we had a great time. There were lots of lovely spinners, many wearing fantastic hand-knitted, hand-spun garments and accessories - very inspiring.

There was food too, a great spread, because you know all that talking and spinning makes you hungry.

And there was shopping - The Threshing Barn were there with lots of beautiful fibres and some very interesting books, and the chap who's name I can never remember who does the woodturning and makes beautiful spindles and bobbins and stuff. I was very good and I didn't buy anything. There wasn't anything that I thought I really couldn't live without.

I did buy some raffle tickets though (and I won a prize - a large bar of Carbury's Fruit and Nut chocolate) and i bought a Fleece Log, which is for recording the different fleeces you process as you go, noting how you washed them, spun them etc. I am more than likely never going to use it - I never ever use raw fleece if I can avoid it - give me nice clean, preferrably prettily coloured roving any day - but it was for a good cause as the proceeds were going towards a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome charity.

All in all it was a very good day. Just what I needed to set me up for the mayhem that will be the next couple of weeks in the run up to Christmas. Blog posting may be infrequent during this time.

Finally I really can't let another week go by without saying how sad I am that Borders have gone into administration. It doesn't look as though there will be any buyers for the business, though a few shops may be taken over by Waterstones/HMV. Borders had a unique place in the book market, with a greater stock of American titles than most in this country, and a great selection of magazines. Borders in Oxford has long been one of my favourite bookshops in the UK and I will be particularly sorry to see it close. I hope that the booksellers all manage to find other jobs, but with the economy in the state it's in at the moment it will be tough. You have my sympathy.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Mysteriousyarns in Blog Update Shock!

I can't believe that it's been nearly a month since I last posted. I guess that's what Christmas in retail does to you. I have lost all track of time and usually have no idea what day it is.

I have been reading a bit though, finishing Simon Beckett's Written in Bone which I enjoyed, even though I had figured it all out before the end. Good characters and an interesting setting - see, I'm easily pleased.

Then I read American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld which I didn't enjoy so much. It started well, a well-turned story of a woman whose life has been overshadowed by an early tragedy, and it's based (at least in part) on the life of Laura Bush so you get to see how "Alice" gets to the White House. I have to say that the final chapters were a big disappointment - once Alice becomes First Lady the story loses all its focus and the last part is very dull. However, after I'd finished it I kept thinking about Alice and while she had been quite irritatingly self-centred throughout the book once I'd finished she kept popping up in my head and I got quite annoyed about her selfish misuse of a fantastic opportunity. She was so wrapped up in herself and her marriage to the nauseating "Charlie" that I wanted to slap her. It's not often that a character gets under my skin like that, so if that was your intent Ms Sittenfeld then I salute you - but that last section of the book was still terrible.

I'm now reading Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson (due to be published in paperback in April 2010, but available now in hardback). It's set in the 18th Century, is full if interesting characters and has really grabbed me so far, but I'm only 50 pages in so time will tell.

All my Christmas knitting (that I can report on here anyway) is done and dusted. My new loom now has a proper home in the corner of the dining room. I have a day off today and I've just remembered that it's Wednesday so it's the Christmas Party at my reading group tonight. And on Saturday I'll be at the Advent Gathering hosted by the Staffordshire Moorlands Guild of Spinners and Weavers. Hey, things are looking up!